Contemplation in a Connected World

December 09, 2008

Posted in Personal.

A few years ago, I spent a week and a half on vacation for the winter holidays. I left my computer at home, having made the decision to disconnect and enjoy my time away. I felt nagging urge to check my email. There were withdrawal symptoms. After a few days, I found myself much more relaxed.

The Rev. Hugh Page, Jr. writes a blog for first-year students at Notre Dame. He recently taught a class about contemplation and the first year experience, in which he introduced the idea of building time into ones day for contemplative activities.

From his post, at

I also assigned some rather interesting praxis oriented assignments such as:

  • A Technology “fast” – turning off cell phones, computers, and other devices and taking a ninety minute meditative walk
  • Contemplative sketching and photography exercises
  • Walking the Prayer Labyrinth at St. Mary’s College
  • Using poetry and the writing of aphorisms as a means of recording general impressions about personal growth and life
  • Wandering the “stacks” of the Hesburgh Library
  • Using the techniques of artistic composition to “frame” intellectual interests and objectives
  • Identifying contemplative role models

Since my vacation experiment, I’ve wondered how I could introduce this into my daily life. I want to use it as a way to recharge. I want to reduce the guilt I feel when I leave my cell phone at home and am entirely disconnected. Most of all, I want to remind myself how important my life is outside of work and the Internet.

Have you integrated such activities into your life? What do you do?